Gingerbread Cake with (the Perfect) Cream Cheese Frosting

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This time last year: Haystack Cookies (2013)

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I made this cake for a Christmas party during the holiday break.

I am now back at school, eyeballs deep in reading and homework, craving this scrumptious cake and holiday memories it brings!  Ug. Why do the holidays always pass so quickly?!

I have made several cakes in my lifetime, however I tend to save my cake-making for my trips home. The rational for that is entirely health focused, and not at all because I’m a generous person that wants to share my dessert. I want to eat dessert every day, but if I make a cake while living on my own, I know that I’ll eat that entire monster by myself. Thus, I tend to wait until I go home, so I can take my family down with me, and allow them to eat some of this cake for me! Thoughtful, I know.

So, this Christmas, as is my tradition, I tried a new cake recipe, and think I found a winner! We ate that cake up in a matter of hours, oohing and aaahing over the moist consistency, the rich flavor, and the perfect icing. I am pleased to say, my family ranked this cake at the top of my cake recipes- competing only with my Carmel Apple Cake with Apple Cider Frosting.

In my mind, this cake is a winner for two reasons. One, the gingerbread cake is a unique flavor that is a perfect winter recipe, standing out at any dinner party or holiday gather.  And two, the icing is PERFECT.

There is no doubt that cream cheese icing is my favorite type of icing.

For some reason, I really hate all icings where I can noticeably taste the powdered sugar (I know, said no sugar-addict ever), and the presence of the cream cheese adds rich flavor, masking the powdered sugar flavor.  However, Even if I did like the taste of powdered sugar, the addition of the cream cheese makes this icing soooooo much richer, thicker, and in general more delicious. Thus, in my mind, there really seems to be no other option! Cream cheese icing is always the way to go.

And as far as cream cheese icings go, this icing is the best recipe I have found to date! That’s right, every cake from here on out will be topped with this perfect icing recipe. Get excited.  The consistency was perfect, making it easy to ice, not too runny, and long lasting without losing it’s form. Win-Win-Win!

Thus, if you’re missing Christmas, or family, or are eyeballs deep in work, I suggest you treat yourself to this cake. I promise, it will make your day better.

Come back soon!

– Sarah

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ~ 1/2 cup cranberries  and mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and grease a 9-inch springform pan.*

2. In a glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together the boiling water, baking soda, molasses, and granulated sugar. Whisk until he sugar is dissolved, and set aside.

3. As the molasses mixture cools, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, making powder, and salt in a separate large bowl.

4. Whisk the vegetable oil and eggs into the molasses mixture, and then add to the dry ingredients.

5. Fold the dry and wet ingredients together until evenly mixed, and then pour into the baking pan.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, cool for five, and then gently remove from the pan. Allow to cool completely before icing.

7. While the cake cools, make the icing. Using an electric stand mixer, whip together the cream cheese and butter until pale and fluffy. Thoroughly mix in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to ice.

8. Optional: Once iced, chop up 1/2 cup of cranberries and arrange around the rim of the cake for decoration. Garnish with a few mint leaves.

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Notes and Tips!

  • Don’t have a 9-inch springform pan? Using an 8-inch square pan, or a 10-inch spring form pan will work as well! However if you use the later option, decrease cooking time slightly.
  • Source: Cooking Classy
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Like this recipe? Try these other scrumptious treats from A Rented Kitchen as well! (Recipe links found below photos!):

Blueberry Bunt Cake

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On this day last year: Homemade Pigs in a Blanket (2013)

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Some people are culinary saints- those who have gone before us and paved the way with delicious holiday treats, birthday cakes, kitchen secrets, and recipe cards so worn down you need a magnifying glass to read them.

There are a lot of culinary saints in my life. People who have taught me their ways and passed down their kitchen secrets- all of whom I am so very grateful for.

This recipe is one of those inherited from a saint. When my family moved to Kansas City, in the dead of winter, from warm sunny Florida, this cake showed up on our door. It was baked by a woman in our church who is known for her skills in the kitchen, and whom we have been eternally grateful for ever since.

Moving states is hard. Moving to Kansas from sunny Florida is harder. Moving as a middle schooler is the hardest. Eating delicious cake is not hard.

Therefore, this recipe goes out to all of those culinary saints- the people who have shared their time, energy, recipes, and coffee cakes to neighbors, friends, family, and strangers. This world is better for it.

And if you think you have the world’s best coffee cake recipe, and you haven’t tried putting blue berries, cinnamon, and sour cream in it- try, try again. I know sour cream may sound strange, but this cake is so moist and light that you will have a haaaard time stepping away from it. Just trust me on this one.

Love, a rented kitchen

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose four OR cake flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dusted with flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup nuts- chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Thoroughly grease and flour a bunt pan or tube pan.*
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar. Add the eggs, and then fold in the sour cream and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts, and set aside.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the pan, and then sprinkle half of the brown sugar filling over top.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the cake batter to the pan, and top with the remaining half of the brown sugar filling.
  8. Pour the remaining 1/3 cake batter into the pan, and using a knife, gently swirl the brown sugar filling and batter together.
  9. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until light brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan. Once cool, sift powdered sugar over the top, serve, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • To flour a bund pan, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of white flour along the bottom of the greased pan, and shake the pan around until all sides have a thin coat of flour. This will help the cake slide out of the pan easier once cooked.
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread options from A Rented Kitchen (recipe links below photos!):

 

Food for the Fourth!

Saturday will be here before we know it, and that means the Fourth of July – fireworks, family, friends, starry nights, jeans, bare feet and food. Lots of food.

For all of you out there brainstorming what to bring to your neighborhood potluck, what to cook for your relatives, or how to celebrate this holiday in a more environmentally friendly way by going vegetarian- look no further.

Below I have compiled a list of scrumptious foods perfect for this summer holiday. Check it out, and let me know what you try!

Happy cooking, and an even happier Fourth of July 🙂

With lots of love, Sarah

Appetizers:

Drinks:

 

Entrees and Sides:

Desserts:

Lemon Iced Raspberry Yogurt Cake

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This time last year: Red Pepper Quiche Cups (2012)

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Sometimes you spend more hours working on a final project than on sleep. Other times, you spend more time giggling with your best friend than you do doing dishes. OTHER times, you have had a food blog for three years, and that feels like a milestone worth celebrating!

These last two weeks have been a little bit of all three for me.  Last week my first year of grad school came to an end. This week, I  celebrated my start to summer by laughing until my sides hurt, and gratefully realizing that this food blog project has been in existence for three years now! There’s a lot to celebrate there, and a lot of sleep catch up to do. Cue- cake and a pillow.

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I actually baked this cake last spring, while living in Richmond. I remember, it had rained for four days straight, and I was stir crazy out of my mind (not abnormal for me. I wiggle a LOT). I looked up cake recipes online, found this cake to look almost as good as sunshine, and got baking.

The YAY topping was a little note of joy left for my roommates. Because sometimes, when it rains for four days straight, “yay,” is not the first word to come to mind. However sometimes, if you bake a cake and eat it with your roommates, rainy days can look much less gloomy.

Thus, whether celebrating the first week of summer, a personal milestone moment, and last week of class, or coping with rain clouds on your doorstep and too little sleep- cake feels like a good answer to me!

If you disagree with that statement, feel free to take it up with Pinterest. For, according to pinterest, Julia Childs once said, “A party without a cake is just a meeting.” It is “always someone’s birthday somewhere,” and “Life is short, eat the cake.

(Thank you Pinterest, for the encouragement!)

Thus, on those positive notes, I bring you the YAY cake. Because sometimes, you just need a little somethin’ sweet in your life. 🙂

Happy eating, and thanks for being a part of my cooking adventures for the last three years!!

Lots of love, A Rented Kitchen

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest & juice of 2 Meyer lemons
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 320˚F. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, and sprinkle with a thin layer of flour; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, setting aside the egg whites for later, and thoroughly mix in.
  3. One mixed, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Then mix in the yogurt.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the egg whites until light and fluffy with medium peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter, and then gently fold in raspberries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two pan rounds and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan. Wait until thoroughly cooled to ice.
  7. Meanwhile- prepare the buttercream by blending the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Continue to mix on medium speed until the icing is light and fluffy. Chill for twenty minutes before icing.

* To make a four-layer cake, slice each round in half. Spread one cake round with buttercream, top with another cake, and repeat until all four cake rounds are stacked. Spread the top and sides with the remaining buttercream.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Store the cake in the refrigerator for best icing consistency.
  • Source: Kitchen Trial and Error
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious desserts from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below!):

Orange Zest Blue Moon Cupcakes 
with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This Time Last Year:  Edamame Hummus (2013)

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H-o-l-y C-o-W these cupcakes are SO good. Drop what you’re doing, yes, drop everything you’re doing, and make them. Make them now!

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I had a huge paper due yesterday, so naturally, I went to the grocery store and got completely lost in an afternoon of baking. That’s very helpful for my sweet tooth and sense of joy, but less helpful for my paper…..woops.

If you were concerned, I did get my paper done and turned in on time- in between batches of these divine cupcakes. However, if these cupcakes had cost me my paper, it probably would have been worth it. They were that good.

The orange zest and juice in these muffins takes these muffins from normative to incredibly flavorful. The cream cheese frosting tops these cupcakes with moist citrusy tang, and the Blue Moon in this adds a slight hoppy honey tang.

So, good luck not eating them all in one setting. Consider yourself warned- it’s a real challenge!

Come back and see me 🙂 More recipes coming your way soon!

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Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zested (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 2/3 cup Blue Moon beer

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 376˚ F, and line either 1 mini muffin tin, or two normal muffin tins, with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, medium sized bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer for one minute. Add the sugar and beat together for two minutes, or until smooth.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs to the sugar and butter, beating after each until smooth. Once fully incorporated, add the orange zest and vanilla until well combined.
  5. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the milk and beer.
  6. Combine the ingredients together, stirring the beer mixture and sugar mixture into the flour until fully incorporated.
  7. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick can come out clean.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by creaming together the butter and cream cheese. Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar, ½ cup at a time, until it has all been fully added.
  9. Add the orange juice to the frosting mixture, stir in thoroughly, and chill until ready to use.
  10. Once the cupcakes are room temperature, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using either a piping bag, or a ziplock bag with the corner tip cut off. Sprinkle with orange zest, serve, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 24 mini cupcakes
  • Source: Spoon Fok Bacon
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious sweet treats from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below!):